Borstal Boy (2002)
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Critic Reviews for Borstal Boy
Behan's emotional growth and confused self-examination are ably conveyed by Hatosy's spirited and well-nuanced performance.
Dripping with cliche and bypassing no opportunity to trivialize the material.
Takes a clunky TV-movie approach to detailing a chapter in the life of the celebrated Irish playwright, poet and drinker.
A film that will probably please people already fascinated by Behan but leave everyone else yawning with admiration.
Audience Reviews for Borstal Boy
This is a moving drama that *just* manages to veer away from being too preachy at the end, although it was a close call. Shawn Hatosy turns in an impressively understated performance.
A very nice story of young Brendan Behan that shows love sometimes is found in unexpected places. As with any movie with WWII as a backdrop, there is not always a lot of sunshine, but the sweetness of youth is demonstrated.
I've had such a tremendous run of luck with foreign and independent films from Netflix. I wasn't really sure what 'Borstal Boy' was about and I picked it more for the length of the film than for any other reason because I had only an hour and a half before I needed to be doing something else. What a well spent 90 minutes it turned out to be. The British have an inimitable way with drama; we Americans don't have a horse in that race when we're up against them and this movie proves it. You sensed from the very first scenes that it was going to be a good movie, but the latrine scene with the boys, Brendan Behan and Charlie Milwall played by Shawn Hatosy and Danny Dyer respectively, gave you a sense that there would be no histrionics, no bleeding pathos here. What you knew was that there would be fine acting ahead. I greatly admire Peter Sheridan's direction, especially given the topic - he could have taken it over the top, but he kept the keel even. We Americans, even we gay Americans, sometimes shy away from bringing a gay scene into a situation but the British don't bat an eye and lay everything out for everyone to see. That's a good approach and 'Borstal Boy' proves it. That the story was true does nothing to remove the art from it, and that it was artfully played doesn't diminish the truth. I very highly recommend this movie, to both my gay, and my straight friends.
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